Things To Do In Singapore If You Are Visiting For The First Time

From street food like you have never had before to vibrant alleys housing fascinating histories, our handy list of things to do in Singapore covers all that and more the Lion City has to offer
The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore
The Merlion is the official mascot of

Singapore, the Lion City, is a traveller's dream, where the old and new converge in a mesmerising tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and experiences. It's no wonder this enchanting island nation has recently witnessed a surge in Indian tourist arrivals. If you are also smitten by its diverse charm and want to explore it all by yourself, here's a list of things to do in Singapore, especially if you are visiting for the first time:

Savour Singapore's Iconic Street Eats

The buzzing hawker centre
The buzzing hawker centre AhBoon.Net on

Singapore has a world-class dining scene, but to truly experience the heart of the city's culinary culture, you've got to hit up the hawker centres. These open-air food havens are where locals and tourists alike indulge in a vast array of mouthwatering street food. In fact, their cultural significance was recognised by UNESCO in 2020, making them one of the must visit places in Singapore.

If you are wondering where to start, head straight to the Chinatown Complex Food Center, boasting over 200 stalls. Lau Pa Sat, a gazetted national monument, offers a historical backdrop to your meal. For a seaside dining experience, head to the East Coast Lagoon Food Center, and if you've seen "Crazy Rich Asians," you'll recognise the famous Newton Hawker Center. Make sure to bring cash with you, as most hawkers prefer it, and small notes and coins will be your best friends here.

Marvel at Marina Bay's Skyline

Get your camera ready because Marina Bay is the postcard-perfect backdrop you've been dreaming of. It's hard to believe that this area was once open sea, but today it's a gleaming testament to Singapore's architectural prowess. Stroll along the waterfront and take in the three iconic towers of Marina Bay Sands, strike a pose with the Merlion statue, and traverse the Helix Bridge, a true marvel of design.

The best time to go is during sunset when the buildings light up, and you can catch the stunning light and sound shows at Marina Bay Sands and Supertree Grove in Gardens by the Bay.

Party Along the Singapore River

The Singapore River, once a bustling trade hub, is now the heart of the city's nightlife. Old warehouses have been transformed into vibrant nightlife districts. For a relaxed drink with waterfront views, head to Boat Quay. Further down, Clarke Quay boasts trendier clubs and bars. And if you're in the mood for a quieter atmosphere, explore the dining establishments and cafes at Robertson Quay. Do take a river cruise on an old bumboat—it's a relaxing way to see the sights and give your feet a break.

Explore Singapore's Cultural Enclaves

The colourful alley of Chinatown
The colourful alley of ChinatownPhoto by Adrian Jakob on Unsplash

Singapore is all hip and cool, but it also has a fascinating and diverse history that is best explored by visiting the heritage neighbourhoods. Chinatown, located near the Singapore River, is a delightful blend of temples, shophouses, and modern hangouts. Kampong Gelam, with its Sultan's palace and Sultan Mosque, reveals the rich history of Malays and Arabs. Little India immerses you in a world of spices, pagodas, and lively crowds. Don't miss Tiong Bahru, a charming mix of old and new, or Joo Chiat, where you can learn about the unique Peranakan culture and admire colourful shophouses.

Enjoy Singapore's Green Oasis

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the BaySergii Figurnyi on

Singapore's reputation as the "Garden City" is well-earned, with 400 parks and green spaces throughout the island. Gardens by the Bay, with its Supertrees and climate-controlled domes, is a must-visit. The Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to the National Orchid Garden, the world's largest orchid display.

Embark on Nature Walks in the City

If you are a nature lover, don't miss the Southern Ridges, a picturesque 10 km trail with panoramic views. Explore the Treetop Walk in Macritchie Reservoir or conquer Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore's highest peak. And if you are up for a more challenging trek, consider the 24 km-long Rail Corridor that crosses the island from south to north along the former railway line.

Discover Singapore's Offshore Paradises

Pulau Ubin
Pulau UbinAleksandra Tokarz on

Escape the city's towering skyscrapers by taking a boat to the offshore islands. Sentosa offers a range of attractions, from sandy beaches to Universal Studios. For a quieter nature escape, visit the Southern Islands or explore Pulau Ubin for a taste of old Singapore village life. Weekends and holidays may be busier on the islands, but you'll find more frequent ferry services.

Explore Singapore's Quirky Side

Haw Par Villa boasts over 1,000 sculptures and dioramas portraying Asian history, art, philosophy, and religion
Haw Par Villa boasts over 1,000 sculptures and dioramas portraying Asian history, art, philosophy, and

While Singapore's big-name attractions are a must, there are plenty of offbeat activities to discover. Haw Par Villa, with its peculiar statues and dioramas, offers a unique cultural experience. For vintage toy enthusiasts, the MINT Museum of Toys is a hidden gem next to the Raffles Hotel, boasting the largest collection of vintage toys in Asia.

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